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Interview: Harry Livingstone

We chat with the UK actor on his role in 'No Sex Please, We're British'

A happy newlywed couple places a large order of Scandinavian glassware, and ends up receiving a large order of Scandinavian pornography – chaos ensues and the situation is made even more difficult to deal with when a host of characters, including the husband’s mother and his boss, insist on getting in the way. No Sex Please, We’re British ran for 16 years on London’s West End, and is currently showing in Singapore for the very first time. Gwen Pew chats with UK actor Harry Livingston, who plays Peter Hunter, the husband, to get a glimpse into his role.

'The audience has to believe the reality in order to invest in the characters’ stories.'

When did you first come across the play, and what were your initial thoughts about it?

I first came across the play when I auditioned for the part. To be honest, although it was the longest running comedy on the West End in London, it finished when I was born and so I had never heard of it before. My initial thought about the play was that it was very funny. There are very few things that make me laugh out loud when I read them, but farces never fail to do that for me. 

Hit us with your best line from the play.

My favourite line: ‘That’s a good old fashioned remedy Runnicles. Better than ointment, slap a bread poultice on it.’

What’s the most difficult part of acting in a farce?

The main challenge is keeping the pace up, and although the situations are absurd, making sure that you keep the action on stage as truthful as possible. The audience has to believe the reality in order to invest in the characters’ stories. 

What do you think are some of the factors that contribute to the show’s long-running success?

No Sex Please, We’re British ran for so long because it’s so funny. The critics panned it when it first came out which would usually put a show in bad stead, but the audiences didn’t seem to accept their judgement. They enjoyed the show, and kept buying tickets for 16 years. 

Describe the show in three words.

Parcels, Police and Parrots.